Continuous exposure of intact male rats to [6-D6- (2-napthyl)-alanine]LHRH, a highly potent LHRH agonist, diminished testis and pituitary weights and decreased basal plasma levels of testosterone and LH. In addition, treatment with this analog abolished the pituitary hypertrophy and LH hypersecretion normally associated with castration. Alterations of male sex behavior were also noted in these animals. Analog-treated intact rats showed longer intromission latencies and mount latencies in early tests and ceased to show sexual behavior 6–8 weeks after initiation of treatment. In addition, the gradual decline in behavior normally observed after castration was markedly accelerated by analog administration. Castrates bearing 5-mm Silastic testosterone-containing capsules which maintained copulatory performance displayed behavioral deficiencies when given the peptide. No significant effect of analog was noted in rats with 30-mm Silastic implants, which provide a higher level of testosterone replacement. Continuous analog treatment promotes endocrine effects consistent with complete antagonism of the effects of endogenous LHRH. The behavioral disruption associated with this manipulation suggests a role for endogenous LHRH in maintaining sex behavior in a low testosterone environment.
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